What is a Commercial Integrator?
On any given day, your business uses a multitude of software, hardware, networks, and audiovisual equipment. Getting these systems to work together can be an art at times. It actually requires a combination of highly specialized skill sets. Also known as a systems integrator, a commercial integrator builds computing systems that combine hardware, software, and audiovisual products from multiple vendors.
Commercial Integrator: an individual, such as a contract consultant, or a business dedicated to building computing and technology systems that combine hardware, software, and audiovisual products, usually from multiple vendors or manufacturers. Also called a Systems Integrator
A commercial integrator can be an individual, such as a contract consultant, or it can be a business dedicated to systems integration. Here’s how this type of versatile professional can benefit your business.
Hiring a Commercial AV Integrator Saves You Time and Money
Perhaps no part of your business needs the services of an experienced commercial integrator more than your audiovisual equipment, or AV. Why? AV equipment, such as digital signage and conference room video and audio, represents a significant upfront investment.
To navigate the wide array of technology manufacturers and vendors, you need a partner highly skilled in understanding how the technology works and most importantly, how it works together. The integration of your hardware and software result in a successfully configured system that is also easy to use.
Questions to Ask
While there is likely a long list of questions you could ask before hiring a commercial integrator, we believe these three are among the most important.
1. Access to Multiple Technology Manufacturers
You will want an integrator with access to and knowledge of many different technology brands and products. This can ensure the integrator has considered many variables and different options to best meet your technology needs. If a technology consultant tries to push you toward only one manufacturer, make sure they do so with your best interest in mind and only after considering a wide variety of options.
2. Project Management/Communication
Technology projects, like the installation of audiovisual or digital signage solutions, are typically fraught with multiple challenges. Where and how to mount hardware, access to power, management of power, hard-wired or wifi connections to the Internet, connections between hardware devices – the project has so many varying components that can and cannot be planned for or predicted. You will want to ensure your commercial integrator has exceptional project management to address these challenges as they come up. A project manager can help minimize your expense by creatively solving problems, anticipating challenges, or working with you to mitigate both risk and expense. Further, you’ll want a project manager who prioritizes communication with you throughout the entire project.
The success of a project is based on the outcome, and the outcome is measured in the project industry with service level agreements or SLAs. These SLAs are set for each project, based on individual project components, like response time and milestone achievement, or on the project as a whole, such as completion timeframes. Set at the time of contract negotiations, you will agree with your integration partner to the most meaningful parts of your project that will be measured by these SLAs. Ask your partner what their SLA performance is historically and query their references with this same question before selecting this partner.
Mitigate Your Risk
To help you mitigate the risk and maximize your investment in audiovisual or digital signage technology solutions, you can hire a commercial integrator or systems integrator to advise you about each AV purchase your business makes. In addition to providing you with their industry and product knowledge, these sought-after specialists can build customized AV solutions, professionally install your AV equipment, and be available to offer technical support and ongoing maintenance for the equipment.
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